Thursday, October 30, 2014

Skillet Brownie Pie ~ Treat! No Trick.

Need a quick and easy treat? This one comes together fast!

This is my favorite brownie recipe.  I decided to make it in a skillet to take to a friend's home recently so it could be cut into wedges and served with raspberries and vanilla ice cream.  This time, I decided to add some caramel bits to the batter. Sound good?

Right after baking, the brownies are very moist and the caramel bits were melted and soft.  

After a night in the refrigerator, these babies can be cut neatly and served like a candy bar.  They will last for several days refrigerated if you don't eat them before that.  

In the darker months, we like to place up-lights under several trees in our yard to make the night not feel so gloomy, but last night, I noticed this one looked just a little spooky.  Just don't walk to never know. 

I also made some Witch Fingers for my grandsons who were here for dinner last night.  You can find lots of recipes online such as this one

Happy Halloween, everyone and Hello November! 

Skillet Brownie Pie

Adapted from Bakers

6 oz bittersweet baking chocolate (I like Ghiradelli baking bars)
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups toasted chopped pecans (optional) Reserve some whole, untoasted pecans for decoration.
1 cup caramel bits (the small round ones)

Heat oven to 340 F.
Prepare a 9-10 inch oven proof skillet, preferably cast iron, by lining it with parchment paper. 

Place pecans on a baking sheet and toast them in the preheated oven for about 7-8 minutes.  Cool slightly and chop coarsely.

In a large, heat proof bowl (big enough to fit sugar and flour too) microwave all chocolate and butter on high for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring halfway through. Keep stirring until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. You can also use a double boiler to melt the chocolate, if necessary.

Stir sugar into chocolate mixture until blended. Mix in eggs and vanilla in same bowl.  Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in nuts and caramel bits, if using.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until set. DO NO OVERBAKE. Brownie will continue to bake in hot cast iron for a few minutes.  
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely in pan. Cut into wedges and serve with raspberries and ice cream, if desired. 
You may wrap the rest of the brownie pie in cellophane wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Best Fall Slaw!

There are perks to living near a city with several of James Beard Award-Winning Chefs.  Outside of the obviously great food at their restaurants, one of them writes a witty food column for our Sunday newspaper's food section.  Even though Sandy D'Amato no longer lives in Milwaukee and has sold his restaurant Sanford to his Chef de Cuisine (and recent James Beard Award winner as well), he still writes his weekly column. More than a few times, he shares a recipe that I simply have to be make right away. 

Such was the case for this amazing autumnal slaw. Celeriac, apples, celery, red onion and dates tossed with a cardamom dressing.  Doesn't that sound great? 

If you're not familiar with celeriac (also called celery root) and wouldn't know what it looked like if one was staring you in the face, it reminds me of a small ogre's head. Yup. Certainly not the beauty queen of the produce aisle, but, peeled of it's outer knobby and warty-looking brown exterior, it's a wonderful, mild vegetable. I've used it cooked and mashed in lieu of potatoes (delicious and low starch) and also in soups, but this was the first time I've used it raw. Not related to celery at all, celeriac is a relative of fennel, carrots, parsley and parsnips. 

My husband started 'tasting' the slaw before our fish was grilled that evening and before the end of dinner the entire bowl (more than you see here) was gone. It won high praise from my husband and we both gave it two thumbs up. It is the best fall slaw!

The Best Fall Slaw

Adapted from Chef Sanford d'Amato
Printable Recipe

1 pound celery root (celeriac)
½ red onion
2 crisp apples (such as Gala or Fuji)
2 ribs celery, cleaned and cut on the bias ¼ inch thick
6 to 8 pitted dates, cut into ¼-inch pieces
1-¼ teaspoons kosher salt
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, or mint, chopped

Lemon cardamom dressing:

Zest of ½ lemon
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons honey (my addition)

To prepare the lemon cardamom dressing, combine the lemon zest and juice in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Reduce to 1 tablespoon liquid. Cool to room temperature, then add the remaining dressing ingredients and blend well.

Peel the celery root to yield about 10 ounces. Cut into ¼-inch slices, then cut the slices into thin, julienne strips and cut those in half. Place in a large bowl.

Peel and core the onion, then slice very thin. Rinse under hot water, then in cold, and drain. Add to celery root in bowl.

Cut the apples in half, core, and cut into quarters.  Cut each quarter into ¼-inch-thick slices from stem to bottom. Add to bowl.

Add sliced celery, dates, salt, pepper and parsley or mint. Mix in reserved dressing. Toss well, cover and chill in refrigerator until ready to use.